It’s taken me so long to write this piece up. I wasn’t really feeling it. Even though I had a great time with my friends (as always), the meal itself didn’t stand out one way or another for me to feel passionate enough to write about it.
I’ve written, edited, re-written this so many times I’m not sure if it would ever get to the point where I’d hit “publish” — but if you’re reading it, then I must’ve finally gotten to the point where either I’m ready to post, or, I’m just too sick and tired of re-writing it that I’ve just decided to be done with it.
Pat’ A Chou is a cafe in a relatively new strip mall off MacArthur and Bristol. Everything inside looked clean and inviting and we took the opportunity to check out the display cases and look at all the pretty desserts which, we are told, are all made on the premises.
When everyone arrived, we decided to a bunch of things and share everything.This is usually what we end up doing anyway to get a good feel of what the menu has to offer and to get as many tastings of different items as possible.
I honed right into the Trio ($6) which were three small sandwiches from the menu.
Provencal (regularly $6.30) epitomizes the “French” sandwich with tomatoes, cucumber, egg, tuna, olive, anchovy and olive oil. On paper, this was a perfect combination of flavors I love, but somehow, the miniscule amount of filling seemed lost in the baguette leaving it lacking in flavor.
The same goes for the Parisien (regularly $5.99) which is a simple ham, butter and gherkin sandwich, but the measly amount of ham made it bland and boring.
We all agreed that the sandwiches we’ve had in Paris were somewhat on the meager side in terms of fillings and condiments, and perhaps they were trying to keep in tune with the European-style of things, but it wasn’t really doing it any favors.
The last of the Trio was the Chicken ($6.50) sandwich with tomatoes, red onions, Swiss cheese, mushroom and lettuce. This proved slightly more substantial than the first two but the chicken was dry.
Having said that, the sandwiches were a lot bigger than I had initially imagined for the price but I’d much rather pay a little more for a more substantial sandwich.
The Texas sandwich ($6.50) was slightly better. The roast beef, tomatoes, salad, gherkin, American sauce was slightly more generous but it didn’t wow.
There are four types of bread you can choose from including French baguette, ciabatta, Pat’ A Chou bread and Barbecue bread although the latter two weren’t available because we told they “ran out”.
On the day of our visit there were four soup selections. Chicken Enchilada was surprisingly good. It was delicious actually with a great southwestern kick and very flavorful.
I wish I could say the same for the French Onion. It was watery and bland with no crouton or cheese topping, just a few pinches of shredded cheese tossed in.
Thankfully, the Hot Goat Cheese Salad ($7) was very good. Warm goat cheese toasts are drizzled with honey and served on a bed of mixed greens topped with Bresaola and balsamic vinegar. Everyone loved this dish and wanted more.
The Quiche ($6.10) is worth trying also. We selected the chicken and mushroom, although there are also salmon and the traditional Quiche Lorraine as well. The pastry on the quiche was good and the filling was also nicely textured and flavored. Even though they warmed it up, it was lukewarm at best. I would’ve liked it much better served piping hot.
We also tried some of the desserts including macaron ($1.10 each) — do not recommend — and the Normande coconut tart ($4.80) which was quite good even though I don’t like coconut.
Service is really good. Staff are very friendly and accommodating and made the experience pleasurable even though the food wasn’t anything to shout about.
Pat’ A Chou
1421 West MacArthur Blvd
Santa Ana, CA 92704